After removing the possibility of freezing rain from the Alexandria area forecast on Friday, the National Weather Service has reinstated it for the day Saturday due to temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.
That is, in fact, preventing the weather service from zeroing in on projected snowfall amounts. It predicts a very tight snowfall gradient from Canby in southwestern Minnesota to the Twin Cities, where a wintry mix is expected before turning back to snow tonight.
Mostly snow is forecast north of that line, but the latest forecast issued at 8 a.m. Saturday for Alexandria calls for snow possibly mixing with freezing rain in the morning, and becoming all snow after 1 p.m.
As for local amounts, they vary widely, with the latest local forecast calling for 4-6 inches during the day Saturday and another 3-4 possible Saturday night. Snow will taper off quickly Sunday, with less than one inch expected, mainly before 10 a.m.
All of central Minnesota and nearly all of northern Minnesota is in a winter storm warning until noon Sunday. Later on Friday, the weather service extended that warning south to include the Twin Cities, where confidence is less about the type of precipitation that will fall during the day Saturday.
Most of North Dakota is also in a winter storm warning, and that also applies to South Dakota except for western parts of that state, which are in a blizzard warning.
For areas in the winter storm warning, total snow amounts are between 8-14 inches, with lesser amounts as you get closer to the southern edge of the warning area.
For Alexandria, as with most of the Upper Midwest, high winds are also expected to blow the new snow around. An east wind Saturday of 20-25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph, will shift to the north Saturday night and Sunday.
That combination of wind, snow and possibly freezing rain promises to make travel very difficult, the NWS warns. For the latest road conditions, call 511.